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What foreign fighters say

One in nine former fighters later became involved in terrorist activity. This does leave a majority who do not wish to become involved with terrorism, for whatever reason. In many cases they are disillusioned, psychologically disturbed, or just tired.

So say Shiraz Maher and Professor Peter Neumann, of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London (KCL). The centre has been doing interviews with foreign fighters and now maintains a database of more than 450 fighters in Syria and Iraq. While it is the most ideological, vicious and bloodthirsty fighters who attract the headlines, many have found the reality to be far different from what they were led to believe, the centre reports.

For more visit the link ‘Offering foreign fighters a way out‘ on the KCL website.

Shiraz Maher and Professor Peter Neumann write: “More than 1000 people deemed to be at risk of violent extremism have already been successfully engaged through the Channel Project. Indeed, the Coalition considered Channel to be so successful that in 2010 its funding was increased, while other measures were simultaneously being cut.

“There are clearly some terrorists among the cohort with which Abu Mohammed has associated himself. Treating all foreign fighters as terrorists, however, risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. It may sound tough, but it isn’t likely to be effective. Arrests and prosecutions will be needed, but they are just one part of the government’s armoury. It must also offer a way out. This is not about being soft: it’s about being smart.”

The article was also published in The Independent.

Prof Neumann was among the speakers at the 2013 Consec, the annual conference of the Association of Security Consultants (ASC).


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